Social Identity Theory Flashcards, test questions and answers
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What is Social Identity Theory?
Social Identity Theory (SIT) is an important theory of social psychology that was first proposed by Henri Tajfel and John Turner in 1979. This theory claims that individuals acquire their sense of identity from the groups or categories to which they belong. It suggests that a person’s self-image and self-esteem are based on his or her group membership, as well as how others perceive them within those groups. SIT proposes that when people are grouped together into certain categories, such as race or gender, they tend to identify more with those in their own group than with those outside it. Furthermore, the distinctiveness between different groups can lead to feelings of superiority and inferiority among members depending on their place in the hierarchy.At its core, SIT states that individuals form an â€˜in-group’ a group consisting of people who have similar characteristics by basing their identification on factors such as age, religion, nationality etc., while simultaneously forming an out-group one with dissimilar characteristics whom they view differently. This process results in both positive and negative emotions towards other members depending on whether they share similarities or differences from one another. This theory has implications for understanding intergroup behavior such as discrimination and prejudice through its focus on categorization processes and power dynamics between different groups of people. For example, if two separate racial or ethnic communities have unequal access to resources due to systematic biases based upon perceived stereotypes about each group then this could be seen through a Social Identity lens as creating an imbalance of power which leads to interpersonal conflict between them due to competition over these resources. It is also important to note that Social Identity Theory does not solely rely upon our physical characteristics but rather takes into account social identities established by shared experiences amongst individuals within a particular context such beliefs, values and customs amongst others (this concept known knowns collective identity). By understanding how social identities shape our behaviors it allows us insight into why some relationships may flourish while others fail – allowing us the opportunity to take steps towards changing existing prejudices held against various social identities so we can strive towards more equitable outcomes for all involved parties.